Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry has been crushing it so far. The addition of Kevin Stefanski has turned everything around. The Browns have an Elite O-line and one hell of a competitor in Baker Mayfield. The main thing holding them back is their defense. And Berry has at the very least acknowledged that and acted accordingly.
This was emphasized by using their 1st round pick (26th overall) on Greg Newsome II. Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward are both great players but the issue is availability, making this a great pick as Cleveland was 22nd against the pass last year. With their next pick, they chose ILB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah(2nd round, Notre Dame). Arguably the best ILB in the draft with excellent size and speed, great versatility to play all over the field, as well as excelling in pass coverage. In the later rounds Cleveland also selected another DT, ILB, and a safety. (Tommy Togiai DT Ohio State, Tony Fields II ILB West Virginia, Richard Lecounte S Georgia) If you are a Browns fan you should be feeling very pleased in terms of roster moves. The defensive weaknesses were definitely addressed to say the least, and if it was a matter of lack of depth/ talent on the roster that was hindering the Browns’ defense, then that should be resolved.
In free agency they signed SS John Johnson, DE Tank Mckinley, CB Troy Hill, DL Malik Jackson, LB Malcolm Smith, LB Anthony Walker Jr, and most importantly DE Jadaveon Clowney. It will be very tough for teams to shut down both Garret and Clowney. In addition, after the draft, the Browns also signed Dylan Moses(LB Alabama) who was a 5 star recruit that had an unfortunate ligament injury limiting his career at Alabama. But if he is able to return to form physically, then the Browns certainly sniped a diamond in the rough.
Offensively, the Browns are already sound. They did, however, draft 2 WR’s and an OT. Anthony Schwartz(3rd rd WR Auburn) was selected in the 3rd round. He is a 6 foot speedster that can take the lid off the defense, and should add depth to that WR room. They also selected 6th rd pick Demetric Felton UCLA, small scat back pass catching type. Although the O line is elite, they did experience some injuries at the end of the season, which is most likely why they took James Hudson, OT from Cincinnati, in the 4th round.
If you are a Browns fan you should still be feeling good after a great season and an excellent offseason. Baker should continue to show improvement, and I expect the run game to be just as dominant as last year. I expect them and the Ravens to be fighting to win the division. Look for them to have another double digit win season.
Off-season Grade – A